Making Cotton Learning Journey
Cotton is not made; it is a plant which grows in warmer parts of the world. Cotton plants have yellowish pink flowers which bloom very briefly. The seed bearing part of the plant is known as the boll and it is this which is picked to make cotton. For thousands of years cotton has been harvested, cleaned, spun, woven, bleached and dyed to make an astonishing variety of different items.
Click on the steps below to learn about cotton through history, cleaning and carding, spinning, weaving, bleaching and dyeing.
Click on the steps below to explore.
Making cotton learning journey Step 1: Making cotton in history
Cotton cloth was not manufactured in England before Tudor times. It was only after the mechanical inventions of the Industrial Revolution (c1760-1815) that cotton was manufactured in Britain on such a large scale. There was already a thriving textile industry in the north-west of England by 1760 which included linen, wool, silk and fustian (a mixture of linen and cotton). Manchester 'cottons' (a woollen cloth of a certain weave) were very popular.